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Early intervention for children screened positive for autism by the First Year Inventory

Chapel Hill
State/Province Full: 
North Carolina
United States

The University of North Carolina will use an assessment tool called the “First Year Inventory” to identify infants from a population-based sampling method at 12 months of age who may be later diagnosed with autism. Following identification, infants will be enrolled in a treatment program called Responsive Teaching (RT). RT is a fully manualized intervention curriculum that consists of four intervention components: (1) Pivotal Behavior Intervention Objectives, (2) Discussion Points; (3) Responsive Teaching Strategies; and (4) Family Action Plans. The manual used by these researchers contains detailed and specific procedures to ensure that the intervention is able to be delivered consistently and in a standardized way; while still taking the individual needs of each child under consideration. These teaching components are applied to important domains of development for young children. The Responsive Teaching method of intervention using screening of the population rather than those “at risk” for developing autism has an advantage for participating families because some caregivers may not have concerns about their child prior to joining the study. The in-home parent-interaction based intervention will be non-threatening and will allow for therapists to meet families where their needs are. Outcome will be measured 6 months following enrollment to determine whether children who enter RT intervention will show stronger developmental outcomes in cognition, language, and adaptive behavior, and less severe autism symptom presentation than those who do not receive RT intervention.